Kathleen McLaughlin
The Bulletin

When Deschutes Brewery employees learned last month that one of their colleagues had been diagnosed with cancer, they had several ways to support him.

In addition to organizing fundraising events, they donated more than 800 hours of vacation time to Colby Nightingale, who has worked at the brewery since 2004 and has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, said Erin Rankin, associate marketing manager.

“It’s been a big shock to all of us,” Rankin said.

Nightingale is on the warehouse team, but has held several roles in the 550-employee brewery over the years, she said. He also served as captain of the Deschutes Brewery cyclocross team.

Nightingale, who is in his 40s, has a wife and two daughters, Rankin said.

The employee-owned brewery calls its leave sharing program Hours for Ours. The policy was recently amended so that hours can be converted to cash at the donating employee’s pay rate, Rankin said.

“It’s not one of those things that’s used very often,” Rankin said. “People definitely know it’s for an emergency need. As a co-owner myself, I definitely want to rally for people when I see that come through. You know it’s for a good reason.”

The IRS allows workers to donate leave to a colleague without tax consequences under two circumstances — medical emergency and major disaster, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The society provides employers with a template policy for leave sharing, but there are no statistics available on how many employers have adopted the policy, spokeswoman Vanessa Hill said.

Deschutes employees moved quickly after learning in early September about Nightingale’s diagnosis, Rankin said.

A fundraiser at the brewery’s food truck lot, The Marina, raised $8,500 through beer sales, she said.

Another fundraiser is planned for Monday, which is Nightingale’s birthday.

Several breweries and bars have agreed to donate $1 from every pint sold between 4 and 9 p.m., according to Deschutes Brewery.

The participating pubs are: Avid Cider, Boneyard Beer Pub, Broken Top Bottle Shop, Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. in Bend and Redmond, Crux Fermentation Project, D&D Bar and Grill, Deschutes Brewery Public House in Bend and the tasting room on Simpson Avenue, GoodLife Brewing, Immersion Brewing, Monkless Belgian Ales, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. (both Bend locations), Worthy Brewing and Wild Ride Brewing in Redmond.

—Reporter: kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com, 541-617-7860